In a statement issued Saturday, he stated that “the protracted downturn in the economy proved too much to overcome” and said that he deeply regretted having to shutter the restaurant.
On Tuesday, a sign appeared in the window of the restaurant stating a kitchen fire had temporarily closed the restaurant. Restaurant insiders almost immediately started buzzing about what was going on, stating that staff had been let go that day. It was also well known inside the restaurant industry that the restaurant had been struggling to pay vendors for several months. Sources close to the restaurant indicated Swett had hoped to save the restaurant at the eleventh hour by raising additional capital, but was unsuccessful.
The closure is troubling, due in part to the success of the restaurant for more than a decade in its Geyserville location. Swett and his team moved to Santa Rosa in 2010, and lost their longtime chef, Liza Hinman, last winter when she went on maternity leave. Sous chef Doug Richey took over the kitchen in 2011.
According to Swett’s statement: “I am proud of the fact that Santi leaves a legacy, with former Chefs opening two successful restaurants, Diavola in Geyeserville and Scopa in Healdsburg. Although our tenure at Fountaingrove was short, I will miss the many new friends and patrons who became part of the Santi “ family” , and have only great things to say about the support of our business colleagues at Fountaingrove Center, the Carinalli family and Traverso’s.”